Occasion: KK Murthy Memorial Trust and Academy of Music, Bangalore conferred Violin Chowdaih Award, a Citation alongwith a purse of a Rs.1.00 lakh on Padmashri Ustad Rashid Khan and Vidushi M.S.Sheela on 10 Nov 2013


A scintillating performance by Ustad Rashid Khan regaled a packed house to raptures by his rarest baritone and uncanny singing ability. Seldom was there a dull moment for those amongst the audience. Such was the magnetism of his artistry that beholds a rarest compliment by none other than Bharatrathna, the Legendary Late Shri Bhimasena Joshi who fondly said “There is now at least one person in sight who is an assurance for the future of Indian vocal music” – voicing a few years ago, the concern of connoisseurs of Hindustani vocal music about whether its tradition of excellence would continue.


The connoisseur ought to reminisce about the virtues of  how the virtuoso, true to the charecter, in Ustad Rashid Khan weaves magic through his powerful vocals world over. Undoubtedly, he stands the torch-bearer of Indian Classical Music for the ineffaceable presentation offered.

He rendered a Vilambit in Raag Yaman – supposed to be one of the most fundamental ragas in Hindustani Classical Music as is usually one of the first ragas taught to the discerning classical music learners. Truly to his reputation, Ustad traversed through lower, middle and upper octaves in such comfort levels that left the packed house in awe. I have witnessed many of his previous performances, but magnificent rendition of Rag Yaman just stood apart like never before, the layakari and bhaav were very aggressively presented whereas the Tehrav of Yaman remained dazzling. A stamp of authority was writ large in the rendition.


Sung usually at the beginning of a performance, he followed it up by a very popular Thumri, ‘Laagi Lagan’ in Hamsadhvani rāag that lends itself for elaboration, exploration and has many compositions in both classical and film music alike.

A Meera Bhajan..Kya Jadoo Daala re.. in Raag Keeravani then stole the thunder. Raag Keeravani is normally practiced to popular scales in western music as well and is said to be borrowed into Hindustani music from Carnatic music. He was exemplary in his ‘trademark’ expressive nuance and very touching.


Bhairavi is one of the most popular ragas on any concert stage due to its broad scope for improvisation as the raag can be extended to beautiful effect in all three octaves, Ustad Rashid Khan particularly dazzled well in the upper bottom, medium and top octaves while presenting ‘Aaj Radha Brij Ko Chali”. This characteristic raag is also one of the most commonly used in all forms of Indian music owing to its scope for elaboration.

Ustad Rashid Khan was ably supported by Pandit Satyajit Talwalkar on Tabla and Pandit Jyothi Goho on Harmonium. Overall, what draws the audience to such concert halls is the sheer magnetism of  Ustad Rashid Khan’s singing calibre, bears testimony to the  relentless years of Gurukul Learning since the tender age of eleven, speaks volumes about the persevering dedication to the rich legacy of his Rampur Saheswan Gharana. It truly turned out to be an inimitable vocal performance indeed that lingers in our memory for many weeks to follow till we hit his next concert.


By bestowing Violin Chowdaih Award, The KK Murthy Memorial and Academy of Music, Bangalore have undeniably done justice to two great vocalists of our times.


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